It was a surprise to many on Tuesday morning when Patriots owner Robert Kraft took the stand to testify in the Aaron Hernandez murder trial. Kraft seemed very uncomfortable probably because he knew the whole situation was bad for the Patriots brand.
Due to Kraft’s uneasiness at the stand, Patriots fans and media members were very shocked to find out the team hosted then free agent linebacker Rolando McClain for a visit on Monday. McClain was re-signed by Dallas on Wednesday, but it was reported by Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald that he was offered a one-year four million dollar contact by the Patriots.
Even the simple fact that the team offered McClain a deal threw the Patriots media through a loop, given the timing. McClain has been arrested three times, and once for firing a gun in the vicinity of someones head, without intent to murder. McClain is a bad guy, theres no question about it. The timing of the signing probably would not have come at a worse time with the Hernandez trial. Robert Kraft knows that, and he does not like when his team’s image is tarnished.
The Hernandez image set a black cloud over the team two years ago and he doesn’t want to bring in more of that with McClain. That is why he most likely went to Bill Belichick and put the kibosh on signing McClain. Bill Belichick and the actual football operations crew obviously wanted McClain. For good reason also. The team has a real need at the position with Dont’a Hightower’s injury and the uncertainty with Jerod Mayo.
Jeff Howe also tweeted something very interesting Wednesday morning by stating, “I do find it interesting McClain got a $4M offer from the Pats, who could restructure Mayo’s $4.5M injury guarantee when he passes physical.”
Clearly, the team has serious needs at linebacker and they were ready to address that with a very good talent in Rolando McClain. However, Robert Kraft did not want to take the risk even though the reward could be pretty significant. It sounds ridiculous that Bill Belichick did not have full power over something to do with his team for once, but in this situation it seems Robert Kraft wanted to remind him who’s team it really is.